New Issue of the Ted Hughes Society Journal

The Society is pleased to announce the publication of the latest issue of The Ted Hughes Society Journal.


The issue features essays on a range of subjects including Hughes's interests in the occult, ecology, and fishing, as well as further reflections on Jonathan Bate's recent biography, reviews and an editorial. The issue is available free of charge to all members of the Society, and can be accessed here.

If you aren't yet a member of the Society, then just click here, sign up and get reading...

Ted Hughes Society Patron: Lord Melvyn Bragg

We are pleased to announce that Lord Melvyn Bragg has agreed to become a patron of the Ted Hughes Society.

A renowned writer and broadcaster, Lord Bragg writes:


Ted Hughes is an outstanding poet – one of the best we have had.  I read his work from the first collection he published.  We became friends and I feel very honoured to be asked to be a Patron of the Ted Hughes Society.  


We are very grateful to Lord Bragg for lending his support to the work of the Ted Hughes Society, and helping promote the scholarly discussion of Hughes's work.

Sylvia Plath: Letters, Words and Fragments - Call for Papers

In October 2017, the first volume of The Letters of Sylvia Plath will be published by Faber and Faber. In anticipation of this major event in scholarship, the Faculty of Arts at Ulster University are organising a major conference on Plath, her writing and her contexts.

The conference will take place 10th-11th November 2017 in Belfast. For full details and for the Call for Papers, please see the conference website.

Huddersfield Performance of OBRA Theatre Production of "Gaudete"

The OBRA Theatre Company's new production of Gaudete will be having its only performances within Yorkshire at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th March.

This will be a great opportunity to see an interpretation of one of Hughes's most powerful works, staged right in the heart of 'Hughes Country'.

For more details and for ticket bookings, see the LBT website:

Ted Hughes Society Patron: Michael Morpurgo

We are pleased to announce that Michael Morpurgo OBE, FRSL, FKC, DL has agreed to become a Patron of the Ted Hughes Society.

Ted Hughes was a family friend and a great supporter of 'Farms for City Children' which Michael and his wife Clare established at Nethercott House, Devon, in 1976.

Michael writes: ‘I should be honoured to be a Patron of the Ted Hughes Society. He was a great friend, my chief mentor, and a huge influence on our lives. We miss his glow.’


Ted Hughes Society Patron: Marina Warner

We are delighted to announce that the first Patron of the Ted Hughes Society is Marina Warner DBE, FRSL, FBA. Ted Hughes thought that Marina’s review in the TLS of Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being was perhaps the only one to understand what he had been about. He wrote to her, ‘I knew that our academic friends would leap into the role that I through Shakespeare have given them: Angelo’s, and that my book would appear to them as the stews of Vienna’.

At the 2016 dinner for Ted’s birthday, hosted by our partners the Elmet Trust, Marina said, ‘It was Ted Hughes’s deep receptivity and generosity to others – I was lucky but I was only one of numerous recipients – that stood out for me in the little time I knew him’.

We are grateful to Marina for her support for the work of the Ted Hughes Society and will be pleased to welcome her into our conversations and events.

Institutional Membership of the Ted Hughes Society

The Ted Hughes Society is pleased to announce that we are extending institutional membership to all members of The Elmet Trust, The Ted Hughes Project (South Yorkshire) and The Ted Hughes Network.

Members of these organisations can now enjoy the full benefits of Society membership, including access to The Ted Hughes Society Journal where they can read the latest cutting-edge scholarship on Hughes's life and work.

If you are a member of any of these organisations, please get in touch with your contacts there and they will explain how to access the journal.

Ted Hughes and the Arvon Foundation

We've just added a new essay to our 'Ted Hughes: Life and Work' section: Ann Skea explores Hughes's unflagging support for the work of the Arvon Foundation, a residential creative writing programme which has been supporting writers, poets, musicians and artists for decades and is still a central part of the British literary landscape today.

For more of Ann's wonderful writing on Hughes and his work, make sure you check out her website: The Ted Hughes Homepage.

Modern Poetry in Translation No. 1

Alongside his own vast corpus of publications, one of Ted Hughes's most important contributions to poetry was his unflagging support for other poets and writers, and particularly his promotion of translated works. Together with his lifelong friend Daniel Weissbort, in 1965 Hughes founded Modern Poetry in Translationa magazine which would introduce the finest foreign-language poetry to an English-speaking audience, and which remains one of the most vital and important publications on the poetry scene today.

On the MPT website, those readers who want to get a sense of how it all got started can now access a brilliant micro-site exploring that very first issue of the magazine, edited by Hughes and Weissbort, and including the issue in full: Modern Poetry in Translation No. 1.

Happy Birthday Ted Hughes... from Cape Town

Yesterday (17th August) was the 86th anniversary of the birth of Ted Hughes, and news has reached the Society that one place the birthday was marked was the 'This Day in History' programme on Cape Town's local radio station, Cape Talk.

It's good to hear that Hughes's profile remains high in South Africa. And of course, as we were reminded by Claire Heaney at last year's International Ted Hughes Conference, Cape Town's own most famous literary son J.M. Coetzee is a significant reader of Hughes as well, exploring the poet's imaginative attitude towards animals in his works The Lives of Animals and Elizabeth Costello. All further testament to Hughes's standing as a poet of truly international importance... And thanks to Society member Pauline Friedman for drawing our attention to these African birthday wishes.

Gerald Hughes (1920-2016)

We at the society were saddened to hear the news of the death of Gerald Hughes, Ted Hughes's beloved elder brother, at the age of 95. Gerald's influence on Hughes and his work was truly formative, and his recent memoir of their relationship, Ted and I is essential reading.

For obituaries of Gerald Hughes please click here and/or visit this link:

EDIT: Another obituary of Gerald Hughes has been published in The Guardian, this time by Jonathan Bate, author of the recent Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life

Ledbury Poetry Festival Podcasts

The Ledbury Poetry Festival took place between 30th June and 9th July 2016, and in amongst the many panels, readings and talks there were some of great interest to readers of Ted Hughes.

The Festival has now made a good number of these events available as recordings through their podcast, including a fascinating talk and reading from the poet and artist Frieda Hughes about her marvellous new collection Alternative Values.

You can hear Frieda's talk on episode 56 of the podcast here:

Jonathan Bate also gave a talk during the Festival on his recent controversial biography of Hughes, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life. You can hear this event here:

The Ted Hughes Network, University of Huddersfield

We're happy to draw attention to a new organisation which has been set up at the University of Huddersfield: The Ted Hughes Network.

The Ted Hughes Network will be based in the English and Creative Writing subject area in the School of Music, Humanities & Media. Its Director is Steve Ely ( and Dr James Underwood is the Network’s Research Fellow.

The Ted Hughes Network intends to develop new approaches that will enhance Hughes studies, develop Hughes’s public profile and create more opportunities for academic and non-academic audiences to engage with Hughes’s work.   With that in mind the Ted Hughes Network will:

•           Develop teaching and research related to Hughes’s work at the University of Huddersfield

•           Host an annual Ted Hughes-based symposium at the University

•           Sponsor an annual Ted Hughes lecture at the University

•           Sponsor an annual International Visiting Fellowship at the University

•           Develop and digitise archival materials

•           Develop a range of public and outreach events arising from academic work — lectures, readings, performances, the development of a ‘Ted Hughes Trail’ and links with community groups and schools.

Seven Crows (no longer) a Secret

A real rarity has surfaced on Youtube... This is a short film made by John Forrest for the National Film Board of Canada in 1994 on the natural history of corvids, Seven Crows a Secret. This film, long since out of print, is well known - but rarely seen - amongst Hughes scholars for featuring not only a fascinating interview with the artist Leonard Baskin discussing his art works about crows, but also one of the very few existing pieces of footage of Ted Hughes, in which he reads from his Crow poems and discusses the mythic history of the crow.

You can find the original VHS packaging and a teacher's guide to the film at the National Film Board of Canada's website.

Many thanks to Ann Skea ( for finding this wonderful resource.